Hotel Ritz Plaza
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... the temple we headed to the food hall where they feed anyone who wants food. Basically you go into a large hall and sit down in rows food is given out freely. The Shiks believe that everyone should eat together regardless of class, race, status or any other distinctions that segregates society. So we four foreigners sat cross legged on the floor amongst strangers and ate dinner. Fantastic experience.
... wanted to get under the skin of this new and unfamiliar city in my favourite way; getting lost in the maze of alleys among the shoe makers, metal workers, paan wallahs and grocers shops. Amritsar felt very different to other Indian cities, different in a way that was hard to put my finger on, although it was immediately apparent everyone here was especially friendly, even by Indian standards. Attempting to find my way back later on, I passed a hair salon complete ...
... It actually has a big bed as well. The ceremony was like others I'd seen in some respects but in others it was very refreshing. The Sikhs seemingly have no real hierarchy or allotted jobs to do in the ceremony, so if you wanted to bang the drum for a bit you just grabbed the sticks off the guy drumming and went for it, if you wanted to carry the big fancy carriage the book is in, crack on, grab a handle. Everyone all pitching in and helping out.
With the book in bed and ...
... How did we fit it in? I have no idea! But no food can be wasted here, so we finished every last bit!
True to the inclusive nature of Sikhs, we felt completely welcome and never felt like we were intruding on anyone's worship. We even got to witness and be part of the Palki Sahib ceremony, where the holy book gets put to bed. The atmosphere within the temple was magical. A serene, spiritual and peaceful place, with hymns and chants quietly filling every ...
... up to the gate, it's the same format for the Pakistanis. The place was packed with not too fanatical, thankfully, flag waving patriotically chanting Indians. There were fewer Pakistanis on their side but between breaks in the deafening music we sometimes heard them shouting too, for example the call to prayer I'm used to hearing in Kuwait welled up at one point. One of the most spectacular parts was the Border Security Force (BSF) guards. They were ...